British cranes return after centuries

This December 2018 British TV video is called Cranes make a comeback in the UK | ITV News.

From Wildlife Extra:

24 hour guard for western Britain’s first crane egg in four centuries

Wild crane egg laid at Slimbridge

May 2013. Conservationists at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire have set up a round-the-clock guard to protect the first crane egg laid in western Britain in over 400 years. The egg at WWT Slimbridge is the first known to be laid by cranes released by the project, the oldest of which only reached maturity this year.

Reintroduced by 2010

Hunting and the loss of wetlands drove cranes to extinction in Britain by 1600. Since 2010, the Great Crane Project has been rearing cranes in captivity and reintroducing them to the West Country.

Watch from Slimbridge hide

The public can watch the nesting pair from hides at WWT Slimbridge. A long lens video link has also been set up to give visitors to Slimbridge and to the website a close up view. The surveillance cameras, paid for by Avios, also assist the guards that are protecting the nest against egg collectors. Egg collecting has been illegal in the UK since 1954 but an obsessive minority is known to still raid nests.

The cranes started nesting at Slimbridge in April. A small number of cranes have been breeding the Norfolk Broads since 1979 but while they have bred there successfully, the population has remained isolated and vulnerable.

To secure the UK population, a decision was made to reintroduce the cranes to the Somerset Levels; eggs were brought from Germany, and hatched at WWT Slimbridge before being released onto the levels. Two of these birds have now returned to Slimbridge where they have mated and built a nest, right in front of one of the hides.

WWT’s Nigel Jarrett said: “Cranes are an iconic part of British wildlife and one that was all but lost for centuries. There is a long way to go before cranes become widespread again, but it is absolutely momentous to see this egg laid at Slimbridge.

Hand-reared at Slimbridge

“The Great Crane Project has brought together diverse skills: breeding and rearing birds, creating wetland habitats and engaging people in conservation. The parents of this egg were hand-reared here at Slimbridge and have thrived through their first three years on the wetlands of the Somerset Moors thanks to the help and support of the local community, particularly the farmers.”

The nesting pair is in clear view of one of WWT Slimbridge’s observatories, giving birdwatchers and scientists a rare chance to study the behaviour of nesting cranes. The surveillance cameras record footage so that it can be reviewed at a later date providing a unique resource for conservation scientists.

Great Crane Project

The Great Crane Project is a partnership between WWT, the RSPB and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust with major funding from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, who share the vision to return this beautiful bird to where it once belonged.

The public can watch the nesting pair via a live stream of the surveillance camera on the WWT website.

See also here.

5 thoughts on “British cranes return after centuries

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